WHEN it comes to deluxe premium estate cars, the latest BMW 5 Series Touring is guaranteed to be vying for top spot thanks to its sweeping athletic stance, abundance of on-board technology and genuine all-round practicality.
And just in case you were concerned about performance it is fired by the same 3.0-litre powertrain that makes its saloon stablemate such a cracker of a car.
It's the first time the 530d Touring has been offered with the company's xDrive all-wheel-drive system, and with its M Sport styling, it looks stunning from any angle and delivers a driving performance to match.
This car featured 19-inch alloys, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic glass sunroof, roof rails, sleek streamlining and was supplied in a smart Mediterranean Blue shade. But in all honesty, it's the interior layout and extensive range of techno treats that really makes this car stand out.
Fitted throughout with Ivory White Dakota leather upholstery which looks amazing despite being a tad unpractical, the cabin oozes elegance, sophistication and premium styling.
There is a digital instrumentation, a 10.2-inch colour touchscreen and creature comforts such as sat nav, on-line services, music, and the car's systems are just a few of the many features that can be accessed via a simple iDrive dial.
But this BMW had a whole host of additional features that helped take it to a new level.
The key, for example, is unlike any normal object designed for locking or unlocking your vehicle. With just the fob alone and standing within close proximity of the car, the engine can be started and the vehicle can actually be moved forwards or backwards.
This is a brilliant solution if you need to keep the Beamer in a narrow garage that isn't wide enough to open the driver's door. It's also fabulous if like me, you seem to get boxed in at supermarket car parks no matter how far away you decide to park. This key costs Â£350 to replace so keep it safe.
Other onboard technology that impressed was the Deezer music system. You can download any album and listen to all your favourite music on the go. According to BMW this costs Â£160 for 12 months although it is offered for just Â£1 for a month's trial.
Finally, the other state-of-the-art feature that is worthy of a mention is the gesture control which allows you to adjust the music volume, answer or dismiss incoming calls, change radio stations and much more by pointing at the touchscreen and moving your fingers accordingly.
Of course, all this technology comes at a price. The basic cost of the car was £50,555 but the addition of kit such as the Visibility package, Technology package, Comfort package, M Sport Plus package along with a number of optional extras bumped the price-tag up to £64,585.
When it comes to driving dynamics, the car is an absolute winner. It can burst from 0-62mph in just 5.6 seconds, maxes out at 155mph and, according to official figures, can deliver combined fuel economy of 51.4mpg with carbon emissions of 144g/km.
Despite measuring just over 4.6 metres in length, the 530d Touring proved beautifully agile and easy to manoeuvre. The all-round visibility is excellent and the reversing camera and sensors help to make light work of squeezing into spaces with limited room.
Clearly the 5 Series Touring is going to be a popular choice for anyone who clocks up the business miles and it's an accomplished motorway performer.
It accelerates smoothly and rapidly through the eight-speed automatic gearbox and there is a constant supply of power on tap from the 3.0-litre 265bhp diesel engine.
The road-holding is ultra-assured and the cabin is beautifully insulated against road surface, engine or wind noise.
It is a car that glides across the Tarmac and is unfazed by any unexpected potholes, bumps or dips in the road.
The head-up display is a ‘must' on this vehicle though as it is deceptively smooth and quick so reaches national speed limits in a matter of seconds.
When it comes to practicality, the 530d is first class with a boot capacity of 570 litres which is increased to 1,700 litres when the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats are dropped flat at the push of a button.
Elsewhere there are convenient storage options scattered throughout the cabin, including practical cup holders, a deep central bin, door pockets and a generously-sized glovebox.